Food & Drink

Easy as Pie Oven BBQ Ribs

An at-home hack for that hours-on-the-smoker flavor

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

I love smoked ribs, but some folks (1) don’t have a super-cool smoking rig, (2) don’t have time, (3) aren’t as much as of a ’que snob as some of your friends, or (4) just want to do their thing and put their Braveheart face paint on and start pounding beers before the game.

So, you wanna make some ribs that will keep most folks happy, though probably not your snotty barbecue critic friends? Head to the store and get to it . . . and get over yourself.—John Currence



    • ½ cup brown sugar

    • ½ cup kosher salt

    • ¾ cup smoked paprika

    • ¼ cup mustard powder

    • ¼ cup garlic powder

    • ¼ cup onion powder

    • ½ cup chili powder

    • 1 tbsp. ground cumin

    • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

    • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon


    • 4 full racks St. Louis–cut pork ribs

    • 1 tbsp. liquid smoke

    • 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (optional)


  1. Make the dry rub: Blend the brown sugar, salt, smoked paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. One at a time, place the rib racks on a cutting board with the concave (bottom) side up. You should see a milky membrane covering the inside of the rib cage. Working carefully and deliberately, dig underneath the membrane with a knife at one corner of the rack and begin pulling it up. The entire membrane usually comes away from the ribs relatively easily. It is slippery, so it is best to grab with a paper napkin or kitchen towel.

  3. Place each rack on a piece of plastic wrap and sprinkle liberally with the dry rub. Drizzle with a few drops of liquid smoke. Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

  4. Preheat the oven to 225°F.

  5. Place the ribs, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, on a baking sheet, keeping them in one layer if possible. Cook for 2½ hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly. (Leave the oven on.) Carefully remove the aluminum foil and plastic wrap. With the ribs still on the baking sheet, cover loosely with foil and return to the oven. Cook for 2 hours more, or until a skewer pushes through the ribs easily.

  6. Thirty minutes before the ribs are supposed to come out of the oven, prepare a hot charcoal or wood fire.

  7. Remove the ribs from the oven and either sprinkle them again with the dry rub or brush with your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired. Place the ribs on the grill and mark each side with grill marks for extra texture and flavor. Remove from the grill, cut between the ribs to separate, and serve immediately.

Reprinted from TAILGREAT: How to Crush It at Tailgating. Copyright © 2020 by John Currence. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Peter Frank Edwards.